Craving a steamy bowl of hot noodle soup? This heartwarming Beef Udon is my go-to Japanese comfort dish. My recipe serves up tender sliced beef on top of thick, chewy udon noodles in a savory broth. What’s not to love?
When my family visited Takayama in Japan in 2015, we had the opportunity to enjoy this warm udon noodle soup with Hida beef. Made of freshly cooked udon noodles in a fragrant hot soup, topped with sweet juicy sliced beef, the beef udon was delicious and perfect. Today, we are going to recreate this Beef Udon (肉うどん) back in our own kitchen.
Despite its simplicity, this noodle soup is packed with flavor! The savory broth, seasoned tender beef, caramelized scallion, and chewy smooth noodles — that’s all you really need for a well-composed bowl of noodle soup.
How to Make Beef Udon
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Udon noodles – Can be frozen, fresh, or dried. Wish to learn more about this noodle? Click here.
- Thinly sliced beef – It works great with “shabu shabu beef” from a Japanese market, but you can always slice your own.
- Negi (Japanese long onion) – You can use green onion as a substitute.
- Dashi (Japanese soup stock) – More about it below.
- Condiments: soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar.
- Optional toppings: narutomaki (fish cake), green onion, mitsuba (Japanese herb), etc.
With basic Japanese condiments, you can easily make this delicious noodle soup at home.
Overview: Cooking Step
- Prepare dashi broth and add the seasonings to make udon soup broth.
- Stir fry the negi (or green onion) and thinly sliced beef. Season them with soy sauce and sugar.
- Cook udon noodles according to the package instructions and drain well.
- Assemble udon noodles and broth in individual bowls. Top with cooked beef and other toppings of your choice.
All About Dashi – Japanese Soup Stock
The key to the most flavorful broth for beef udon is dashi — the quintessential Japanese soup stock. Dashi is clear, delicate, mildly sweet, and full of umami. It is the base flavor for a superb bowl of beef udon.
I have a complete guide on how to make dashi and a video tutorial below.
I often make a big batch of homemade dashi so I can reach for it anytime when I cook udon soup or all my other Japanese dishes.
How to Make Dashi
For those who had never made dashi, it might sound intimidating. But trust me, it’s easier to make dashi than any other broth out there; all you do is drop the ingredients in water and let them steep. That’s it!
You have 3 methods to choose from:
- Dashi powder – The easiest and quickest (1 minute!), but the flavor may not be the best.
- Dashi packet – It has good flavor and very convenient (5 minutes).
- Dashi making from scratch – The best broth. And even with this method, you only need 20 minutes!
Is there any dashi that’s vegan?
Yes! Among the five types of dashi broth, two of them are vegan-friendly.
Make Homemade Udon Noodles
If you have extra time, I recommend making Homemade Udon Noodles from scratch! All you need is flour, water, and salt.
The texture of the dough is much firmer than bread dough, so traditionally, the Japanese used our feet to knead the udon noodles. Isn’t it fun? Check out the post to see how we make udon noodles in Japan.
Tableware from Musubi Kiln
I’ve partnered with a great ceramic online shop from Japan called Musubi Kiln. You will get 10% off with a coupon code JUSTONECOOKBOOK for your purchase. In this post, I’ve used:
Hungry for More Udon Noodle Recipes?
Don’t miss out on these delicious recipes with udon noodles:
- Yaki Udon (Stir-Fried Udon Noodle)
- Curry Udon
- Nabeyaki Udon (Hot Pot Style Udon Noodle Served in Donabe)
- Kitsune Udon
- Miso Nikomi Udon
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For the Udon Broth from Scratch
- 2½ cups dashi (Japanese soup stock) (I'll show you how to make quick dashi using a dashi packet and 2½ cups water in this recipe. You can purchase it here; for vegan/vegetarian, make Vegan Dashi)
- 1½ Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp sugar
- ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
For the Udon Noodle Soup
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil
- ½ Tokyo negi (naga negi; long green onion) (use only the white part of the negi; you can also use 2 green onions)
- 6-8 oz thinly sliced beef (chuck or ribeye) (or slice your own meat)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 servings udon noodles (6.3 oz/180 g dry udon noodles; 1.1 lb/500 g frozen or parboiled udon noodles)
For the Toppings
- 4 stems mitsuba (Japanese parsley) (optional)
- 1 green onion/scallion
- 4 slices narutomaki (fish cakes) (optional)
- shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) (for a spicy kick)
For the Udon Broth (with Mentsuyu; Optional)
- ⅓ cup mentsuyu (concentrated noodle soup base)
- 2⅓ cups water
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- Gather all the ingredients. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the udon noodles. Once boiling, keep it on low heat until you're ready to cook the noodles.
To Make the Udon Broth
- In a medium saucepan, add the measured water and a dashi packet. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. If you have mentsuyu (noodle soup base), see the instructions below for how to cook udon broth with mentsuyu.
- Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then, squeeze the liquid from the dashi packet and discard the packet
- Add the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and salt and mix it all together. Cover the pot with a lid (don't let the soup evaporate) and remove it from the heat.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- Cut the white part of the Tokyo negi diagonally into ½-inch (1.3 cm) slices. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the mitsuba leaves and tender stems (optional).
- Cut the green onion into thin slices. Transfer the green onion slices and mitsuba to a small plate/bowl for topping the soup later.
- Cut the narutomaki (fish cake) diagonally into 4 thin slices. Cut the thinly sliced shabu shabu beef in half, about 1½ to 2 inches (3.8-5 cm) wide.
To Cook the Beef
- Heat the frying pan on medium heat. When it's hot, add the oil and negi.
- When the negi is golden brown and tender, add the meat and cook until it's no longer pink.
- Add the sugar and soy sauce.
- Stir-fry the meat until it is well coated with the seasoning. Remove from the heat.
To Boil the Udon Noodles
- Cook the udon noodles in boiling water according to the package instructions. For frozen udon noodles, boil from frozen for 1 minute to reheat. Drain well and rinse quickly with water to remove the excess starch.
- Divide the well-drained udon noodles into individual serving bowls and pour the hot broth over the noodles to cover.
- Place the stir-fried beef, narutomaki, green onions, and mitsuba on top. If you like it spicy, sprinkle shichimi togarashi on top. Enjoy!
- You can keep the stir-fried beef, udon noodles, and broth separately in airtight containers and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To Make the Udon Broth (with Mentsuyu; Optional)
- In a medium saucepan, combine water, mentsuyu (noodle soup base), and mirin and mix well. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. The udon broth is ready to use.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 8, 2015. It’s been updated with new images and video.